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Rodeo volunteer says it has become a family tradition

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 02:38 pm

Airdrie Pro Rodeo Director of Volunteers Yolanda Wolters (left) and longtime volunteer Joe Davy were very busy this weekend as the Airdrie Pro Rodeo was underway from June 27 to July 1. Davy has been volunteering at the event for 21 years and began by helping his dad and uncle as they volunteered when he was just nine years old. Both Wolters and Davy said the event wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is without the volunteers who make it all happen.
Airdrie Pro Rodeo Director of Volunteers Yolanda Wolters (left) and longtime volunteer Joe Davy were very busy this weekend as the Airdrie Pro Rodeo was underway from June 27 to July 1. Davy has been volunteering at the event for 21 years and began by helping his dad and uncle as they volunteered when he was just nine years old. Both Wolters and Davy said the event wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is without the volunteers who make it all happen.
Lucas Punkari/Rocky View Publishing

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Airdronian Joe Davy first began volunteering with the Airdrie Pro Rodeo when he was nine years old when he joined his dad and uncle who were also giving their time for the event.

Davy started out by picking up cans around the grounds but began helping out in timed events with his dad and uncle in the arena.

“I just went in there and started helping,” he said.

Since then Davy has come back to volunteer his time at the rodeo for the last 21 years and has been a part of the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Committee for the last five or six years.

“I love the sport,” he said of why he gives his time.

“Seeing these guys and the sport is a treat.”

Davy said a big reason behind his love of rodeo and desire to help comes from his dad who volunteered with the rodeo for 30 years.

“My dad and my family was a big thing. I came out to help him out.”

In years past, Davy would spend from 3 p.m. to about 3 a.m. helping set up, run the rodeo and clean up after it was done for the day.

“It makes for a long day,” he said.

This year, Davy has cut back some of the volunteering he usually does at the rodeo because he has a one-year-old son at home but Davy said he couldn’t miss out on the rodeo completely.

“I work down at the roughstock. I run the out gate,” he said of his role this year.

“When the animal is done bucking I open the gate and get them out.”

The job is a demanding one, which requires nerves of steel to get the bull’s attention so it runs towards you and not the rider.

“It’s a rush,” Davy said. “All us guys have been around animals and we usually know what they are going to do. But a bucking animal is unpredictable.”

However, he said he grew up around cattle and is very confident around the

Yolanda Wolters, the rodeo’s director of volunteers, said the organization is lucky enough to have a number of repeat volunteers, though a 21-year commitment like Davy’s is impressive.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” she said of the about 150 volunteers the rodeo has this year.

“They’re an integral part of our rodeo.”

Davy said his nine-year-old daughter is already interested in the rodeo and gets mad at him because she wants to come volunteer. Unfortunately, this year the rodeo fell on a weekend that didn’t work for the little girl to join her dad at the event.

“Both my kids will be raised around the Airdrie Rodeo,” Davy said, adding they will absolutely get involved in the event at some level in the future.

Davy said he gets to have a whole new perspective on the rodeo as a member of the committee.

“Airdrie rodeo wouldn’t be where it is without the volunteers. A lot of work and a lot of hours go into it,” he said.

“People that aren’t used to the farming lifestyle don’t understand the work that goes into it. It’s 365 days of volunteering.”

“I think it’s just a passion for rodeo,” Wolters said of the volunteers. “Everybody who keeps coming back (to volunteer) puts their heart and soul into it.”

She added volunteering at the rodeo is not just for farmers and people familiar with the animals because the committee needs volunteers to help with everything from running the beer garden to working the entry gate and these positions, “have no requirements, just a smile.”

“For people who are new to Airdrie it’s certainly a good way to get involved, meet new friends and feel like a part of the community,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about the rodeo as well.”

Davy adds volunteers get a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment out of giving their time.

“There are a lot of great people who volunteer,” he said.

“As the Airdrie Rodeo, we really, really appreciate our volunteers. We wouldn’t be here without them.”

For more information email Wolters at aprvolunteers@live.ca


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